Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #184

The following 10 bloggers chose one word each for today’s challenge:

  1. Ali Luke
  2. Amy Young
  3. Deborah Swift
  4. Ellie Di Julio
  5. Benjamin Sobieck
  6. Graham Strong
  7. Roz Morris
  8. Shenee Howard
  9. Laura Spencer
  10. Khaver Siddiqi

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. Codex – a volume, in book form, of manuscripts of an ancient text
  2. Defenestrate – to throw out the window
  3. Gizzard
  4. Headology – the intuitive, tough-love art and science of helping people make themselves more awesome by using what they’ve already got; (see “what you believe is true”)
  5. Gelid – very cold
  6. Catheter 
  7. Reincarnation
  8. Shazam 
  9. Resilience 
  10. Burn 

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

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Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there

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147 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #184”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Sufferin’ Shazam Billy! I’s about to defenestrate dis here perplexing headology textbook.”

    “Bobby, hold your gappin’ gizzard a sec. What language you talkin’? It’d be a gelid day in hell before I start talkin’ like you’s talkin’ right now. I mean, I needs a codex-catheter to reincarnate dat mumbo-speak’ into refined bumpkin-speak. Until den, it’s burnin’ a hole in my heretofore patience/resilience-cortex and you needs to cease and desist, post haste, capiche?”

  2. Cathy Miller says:

    I promise I’ll come visit this weekend to catch up on my reading & comments-I’m frantically working in prep for being gone for my 3-Day Walk next month-I miss my CCC-on to the words.
    ============
    It should be the codex of all writers – believe in yourself. Defenestrate all self-imposed doubt that lurks in your gizzard and find the headology clues to the master inside. Burst through the gelid embrace of criticism and grab on to creativity, the catheter to your soul.

    Welcome the reincarnation of your muse and shazam! Brilliance is born. Open your heart to the resilience of the human mind and embrace the burn of success.

  3. “Why burn? Is this hell?”

    “Maybe. Do you believe in reincarnation? It’s all in your head. You’ll get used to the catheter, soon.”

    “Catheter? I think you misunderstood the doctor’s orders. Get this thing out of my nose! Why am I here? What happened?”

    “Oh, trust me. That’s not what I call a Foley cannoli. You’re in the Headology department. We’re testing your resilience to extremes. Apparently, you’re not too keen on having ten cee-cees of hydrochloric acid squirted into your sinuses. Get ready for some gelid goop …”

    “Argh! Brain freeze! Help!”

    “Very good! It is argon. We use it to push the ice crystals. No tolerance at all. Pity. Let’s see how you do with skunk.”

    “Please! No more! I’ll tell you where I hid the money!”

    “Money? I don’t know anything about money. I was told you defenestrated our bill collector. He probably knew about the money. What I want to know is how you plan to pay for that window. And my car. Just bought the thing and there goes little Shazam – splat! What are the odds?”

    “Pee-you! I hate you! I swear, he tripped over that bench!”

    “And pitched himself through a two-inch thick pane? I hardly think so. Are you hungry? Let’s try liquefied chicken gizzard. It’s about the same consistency as the shit dripping down the front of my car – what’s left of it. Oh, let’s add chipotle and habanero sauce, shall we?”

    “PDR! I hid it in the PDR! It was just a stupid joke, I swear. The check is bookmarking the section on Murphy Drips. I’m good for it! Just stoppit!”

    “You’re good for it? What? Wordplay in a codex? The drip? That can be arranged – asshole!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Fantastic. YOu worked these words into this story as if the words were lifted from it. Love how you held back on this and didn’t reveal all the details.

      • Thanks, Shane. Yeah, any setups would have detracted from this one. catheter was the money word that opened this whole thing up, no pun intended. 🙂
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Mitchell. Ok, now I’m the one who feels like I picked up a mystery novel and flipped to the middle.  I want more details!  Whatever this guy really did, he sure is paying for it.

      • Hey, Jeanette, it’s funny how that happens, eh? Too bad we’ll never know what really happened before. I’ll bet it doesn’t end well for gizzard-sniffer, either.
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Jen says:

      Wow. I have too many questions. Tell us more. But no more liquefied chicken gizzard, mkay?
       

    • Dee says:

      Yikes lol – I would have caved much quicker! Wicked good.  I read through quickly the first time and then went back and read again to savor the pain!  (Now I have this urge to blow my nose – and I agree about the words being worked in smoothly!)

      • I’m glad you savored this, Dee. I was pleased with the choice of random words. Have you seen Justin Germino at work? This is right up his alley. He has over 400 random Twitter poems.
         
        It takes me pages to work in what he does in a dozen lines 🙂
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mirch-this painted almost too good a picture…eww… 😀

  4. Jeanette R. says:

    He unpacked the contents of his grocery bag: a gelid six pack of Miller Lite, a single slice of Blueberry pie and three protein bars.  Removing the receipt stuck to a beer bottle he noticed the cashier’s name.  It was the same as his mother’s. Finding matches, he set fire to the thin sheet of paper, watching it burn till he felt the singe on his thumb.

    Perching himself on top of the counter he popped open a beer and took a long, forceful swallow.  Leaning back, he closed his eyes. A flash of his hospital bed appeared.  He felt the pull of the catheter and adjusted his penis in his pants. The nurse had said his resilience was something unlike she had ever seen.  

    Opening his eyes, he jumped off the counter and pulled open a cabinet.  A sheet of paper taped to the inside fell to the ground.  He glanced at the codex with the recent upped dosages.  He grabbed a bottle at random, the label instructed to take 2 pills a day as needed.  He shook out six in his palm and swallowed it down with another long gulp of beer.  

    Tearing open the blueberry pie, he ate it with his hands.  The previous night, a question was posted on Facebook about what would be your last meal.  Some people took it quite seriously listing elaborate meals of stuffed venison with expensive wines. Others tried to be funny saying fried gizzards with malt liquor.  He had decided on a slice of frozen pie with protein bars. The bars had become his go-to meal during his physical therapy sessions.  He couldn’t get through a day without having one.

    The buzz from his cell phone in his pocket startled him.  After closing all of his social media accounts, he knew his mother would be calling.  From reading self-help books on positive reinforcement or Headology, she had crowned herself a ‘Momerapist’.  He was tired of discussing his feelings.  He no longer felt anything.  That was the whole point.  When he decided to defenestrate himself a year ago, he never intended to wake up.  

    When opening his eyes and being surrounded in mostly darkness with tiny blue lights in the distance,he thought about reincarnation and if he had woken up in someone else’s body.  But from what he had learned, he shouldn’t remember being who he was and he certainly should not be a grown man.  The reality hit him hard. He struggled through hour-long therapy sessions, gaining his strength each day.  The therapist was nicknamed “Shazam” cause he was able to get his patients to do incredible things so he insisted on working with only him.  

    The goal of recovering in less than six months was achieved.  Convincing his mother of letting him live alone took another six months.  Many promises were made along with a lot of church and therapy sessions attended.  

    Today he would get it right.

    • Jen says:

      Oof. That’s agonizing. Well done.

    • Great! The whole story! What an ending! I know you foreshadowed it but the way the past collided with the present moment made the inevitable future all the more delineated.
       
      I love how all the help in the world couldn’t stand up to his determination.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Dee says:

      wow….
      you did this very well – the subject gives me a twinge but I like the dark humor.  Momerapist…awesome lol
      Interesting about closing all his social media accounts.  Something to think about these days. How much of us would be left hanging around online after we are gone?

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jeanette R- wow, what a powerful and sad story=grabbed me with every word-well done indeed!

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        This was really well done, Jeanette, and it shows the negative side of unbridled drive, as your Protagonist was dead set on finishing what he started, despite the year of effort everyone poured into keeping him around.

  5. *Missed coming here for a while. I think it’s actually harder to write at home than when I was abroad. Need to get away from here I guess.
    ———

    Arne walked to the other side of the room and raised his hands above the table at which he had stopped. His hands hovered until they found the codex, and his fingers seemed to float in the air a minute before he raised the tome from its position. He knew he had to free his student of this volume. The other nine of this edition were fine, but this one would turn his student into a cynic. The teacher looked desperately to the window. He momentarily thought he could simply defenestrate the book but shook his mind out of it when he realized it would be in vain. A farmhand would surely discover it in the morning amongst the chickens below, and the book would likely find its way back to student’s hands by the time he sat to lunch for chicken gizzard. That wouldn’t work.
     
    Maybe he could just take it. It would be a crude lesson in headology for Arne’s student, but that’s life. Where one found optimism, another could easily find pessimism. Arne couldn’t let his student know those gelid feelings lest he risk them draining the boy of human emotion as a catheter drains a body of liquid. That process would be too painful. If the boy really was the reincarnation of the Great One, he would need to know suffering and sorrow, but nothing to the measure he could find in the codex. Anything there would shazam him into a monster. The prophecies foretold it. So if the teacher wanted to prevent that bleak future, he would have to teach his student resilience, lest he burn later in the destruction of the world.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Matt: Such a cool take on these words. Great story idea here. I could read more of this for sure.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Matt.  “If the boy really was the reincarnation of the Great One…”  That sentence took this piece in an entirely different direction. Reading this was like peeling an onion..each sentence gave me a new look and layer into the characters situation and surroundings.  Welcome back!

    • Jen says:

      Optimism, pessimism, nice balance. And, I am interested in the master/student relationship here.

    • Nice to see you, Matt! This is an intriguing opening hook. I want to know more about the Great One.
      “…but that’s life. Where one found optimism, another could easily find pessimism.
       
      So true. Glass is half-something, either way, right?
       
      Do you really find that a different location helps with writing?
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Haha, that’s right, Mitch.
        And yes, I think a different location helps. I was actually thinking about this earlier today. Home is either a very small town in rural Iowa, twenty miles away from the nearest coffee-house, or about an hour’s drive away in a slightly larger, very “rural” city (if you can call it that) where people go to the coffee shop for the coffee, not to get work done.
        Perhaps the last five years (first four in college and the last one abroad) have spoiled me. When I needed to get stuff done (homework, or in the current case, self-assigned writing assignments), I would go and “hide” somewhere to avoid distractions. In college, if I really wanted to focus, I would find some secluded place in the library or some place where there weren’t many other students. Sometimes I would go and “camp” in the school’s cafe, just to get some of that added caffeine into my body. Even when I was abroad I was able to find several places to “hide.” If you noticed back in the spring and early summer, the only times I was off were when I travelled. Hard to stay focused on anything other than traveling during those periods.
        I just got back home in August, and by home, I’m back with my parents (who are separated, hence the two homes thing)… The job market isn’t doing so hot right now, so I’m sort of stuck… I might just opt into doing a seasonal job for now. But in the little town (more like dwindling village), I feel trapped at times. There’s not a whole lot to do unless you want to drive 10-20 minutes. So I could just stay at home and write, right? Not with a parent who has a question for you every 10-30 minutes. “How do you do this? What does this do? Could you help me with this?” And where am I supposed to go to hide? My room? That’s just a knock of the door away from the 10-30 minute question interval. To summarize Home #1, I can focus here, but there’s too man distractions.
        That leaves us with Home #2. it’s in a larger town, but there still isn’t much to do. Like I said, people go to the coffee shops for the coffee here, not to get work done. The town is definitely more blue collar than white collar. I will admit, though, Home #2 has less distractions, but I just can’t seem to make myself focus here.
        Sorry to leave this rant here, but it actually feels good to get it off my chest. Thanks for asking that, though, Mitch!

        • No need to apologize. I love learning about you and other folks here. It really personalizes the CCC when we can commiserate with each other about the challenges we face in life, and it writing.
           
          Of course, I see stories in all that you’re saying, above 🙂
           
          I hope you find that “me” time that we all need.
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Matt: I wish you the best with all this and finding your path.
          I was thinking about all the distractions, and thought of a cool way you could turn a negative into a positive. Each time a family member interupts you, you tell them that you need your quiet time to write and the only way you can be interrupted is if they tell you a story about their past that you can use as character-building material. Tell them the story must be something very personal, either about themselves or someone they know. This will make great fodder for the stories you write, and it will bring you closer to those people who you “think” you know everything about. I’m amazed at the stories older folks have that were buried but seem to come out as they age. It’s as though time gives them the okay to tell.

          • Thanks for the advice, Shane! I might have to use that one. Oh, and just so you know, I’m declaring war on distractions over at my blog. I really hope it doesn’t backfire on me.

    • Dee says:

      Love this – I am left curious now.  Is Arne doing the right thing believing in a prophecy and denying his student knowledge or is it wrong to make that choice for the student?  Free choice is always tricky.  What is in the book that it would be dangerous even to let a farmhand find it?  Cool story 🙂

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Matt-welcome back! This line is so true - Where one found optimism, another could easily find pessimism. Eye of the beholder. Great story, Matt.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Great stories, Matt: both your fiction piece and the glimpse you gave us into your life.  It’s great to have you back, and I’m sure your parents feel the same way, but coming back home tends to erode the person we were growing into during our years away.  To keep your growth moving forward, you should find those spaces where you have the room to.  Maybe you can let the coffee shop folks know that you’d like to be the first dweller there, and that it might be in their interests to let people stick around and keep buying coffee rather than just buying a cup and leaving.

  6. Jen says:

    The lady at the mall promised me. Her blue and purple dreads tumbled over her pale, freckled shoulder, a bloom of incense behind her created a hazy halo as she spoke. She said, “Beloved one. You are a daughter of the light.” She said the word light with a conspicuous flick of her tongue behind her yellow tinged teeth. She was the very reincarnation of the 60s, at least according to my Grammies’ retelling of those heady years.
     
    Her eyes blinked as if set to the slowest shutter speed. I began to wonder if she was asleep. But her eyes seemed to pry themselves open as she continued. “I mean, look at you. You’re, like, awesome.” Here, my awesomeness trailed off with the hum of her elongated mmmm. But who was I to disagree with her? She just called me awesome. I sneaked a peek around me, just to make sure I was the intended audience, the clear owner of the awesomeness of which she spoke. In few words, she convinced me that what she offered was just what I needed; a deeper je ne sais quois. I should have taken the gelid gust that blew just then for an omen. Instead I opened my wallet. Her words were a catheter to my brain, convincing me of something I already knew.
     
    But back in my dorm room, I felt the burn of my gullibility. I paged through the codex on Headology I had lugged back to campus.  Four volumes bound in pleather and stamped with the various stages and uses for this pseudoscience. Their titles, so mysteriously alluring at the mall now mocked me as they danced crookedly down the spine.
     
    “Dammit and Shazam!” I cried, slamming one stupid book closed. My roommate banged open the door, choking a half a slice of cafeteria pizza down her gizzard, adding a punch of resilience to my sudden decision.
     
    I stood from my papasan chair, plodded barefoot across the industrial strength carpeting, and attended to the defenestration of “Headology” before I could change my mind.

    • OOh – don’t Let Ellie read this. LOL
      I took a paranormal course in College – back when there were only 6 kinds. 🙂
      I defenestrated that course!
       
      Your story brings back those memories of the night class.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Dee says:

      lol people who sit in papasan chairs should not be hating on the 60s! Loved it – pursuing knowledge in the mall.  I hope those heavy tomes didn’t kill some poor innocent student passing by when they landed.  You have a sharp eye for the foibles of humanity – I really am enjoying your stories 🙂

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Jen I had a papasan in college, too.  Every time I see them on display at Pier 1 I smile.  Like your character, I too fall prey to the hippies’ lotions and potions but anything that makes me feel more at peace is A-OK with me ;)  My favorite line: “a bloom of incense behind her created a hazy halo as she spoke.”  This is true for any mystical shop I’ve ever visited.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jen-apparently the computer gremlins ate my reply- I thought this line was just brilliant Her eyes blinked as if set to the slowest shutter speed. Great story!

  7. Adam M says:

    I watched it burn.
     
    Despite the intense heat, I could feel a gelid sensation creep into my throat. Summoning all the resilience I could, I swallowed it, hoping to force it into my gizzard to grind up all the shame, all the regret, and all the times they tried to defenestrate me from my “cozy little world.” Some sort of perverted… headology… as if they could just say, “Shazam” and everything would be okay. That I would be normal.
     
    I didn’t know where I would go from here. I stole the Codex; like ripping a catheter from a dying man with the blind hope he would reincarnate. What would they do without all those years of tradition? What would I do without such ancient guidance? I swallowed again, my stomach churned.
     
    I watched it burn.

  8. Dee says:

    these words are killing me lol – off to bed but will be back to read tomorrow eveing!

    Rowan examined the pages of the codex for the third time. The words blurred and rambled over the page.  She pushed her hair off her face and wished for a breeze. The fire burned hot enough to make satan uncomfortable but a shiver ran through her, chilling her blood til it felt gelid and swollen in her heart.

    “If I don’t do this, Aidan will die.  If I don’t do this right, I will die.” she thought.  Neither choice was acceptable. She had walked all day after visiting the old woman in the cave.  Most of her advice was nothing but headology and that might work on the poor folk in the valley who were ignorant of the true path.  Rowan needed real magic tonight and real magic demanded blood.  She had a catheter ready to insert into her own vein and prayed for the resilience to follow through.  She sighed and read the page one more time.

    Defenestrate?  Why didn’t it just say throw it out the window?” She sighed half from frustration and half from exhaustion.

    When she had drained the required amount of blood from her own arm, she applied herbs and a clean cloth to close the wound. She was read for the incantation.

    gizzards and feathers
    shall be mixed with the blood
    for reincarnation
    needs more than mud
    twice to the left
    thrice to the right
    at gibbous moon
    in pale dead light

    Aidan moaned on the cot and opened his eyes.

    Shazam” He smiled weakly at her.

    “Shut up fool”  Rowan’s knees gave out and she sank down beside him. 
    “You owe me seven chickens!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Dee: I’m standing and clapping! Super job.

      • Dee says:

        @Shane – well thank you – let me buy you a cup of coffee!
        I have the first installment of serialized fiction waiting in my tbr folder on my kindle – gonna try to get to it this weekend.  I love anything dystopic so I plan to be addicted 🙂

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Dee: It was such a fun book to edit. I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading it not as a reader but as an editor. Sean and David did a great job of creating such a fun, vicarious read.

    • Dee! Yay!
       
      That is all.
       
      No! Wait! That is AWESOME. Your storytelling and scene setting are so wonderful, I could read them all day. Is your blog like this? I have been busy, but I’d love to explore it when I have a need for read.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Dee Martin says:

        Thanks Mitch – I kept tripping over catheter…it was the only crayon in the box that didn’t seem to go with the decor…although defenestration is a mouthful too haha.
        My blog is a conglomeration of fiction, poetry, tech how to articles (nothing too deep) and the occasional personal update.  The name of it is Thoughts Have Wings because I believe that when we set our words down on paper (or screen) they fly to places we can only dream of and take on a life of their own. They allow us to fly with them, even when we are anchored by gravity and responsibilities. A friend set it up for me years ago when my husband was hospitalized for what ended up being several months.  We were about a hundred miles from home (my kids managed to finish their high school year without drugs, arrests, or the house burning down – a fact I am extremely proud of as a parent.  They are awesome troopers!)  I had an old laptop running ubuntu and could write posts while he slept and whenever he was having tests or anything done that required me sitting around waiting I would go the hospital computer lap with my handy jump drive and post so everyone could keep up with our “adventure”  I became addicted to blogging.  After some encouragement I started composing my own pieces and so I am a bit of a late bloomer with a lot of catching up to do.  I did nanowrimo a few years back and managed to get in my 50000 words though by the end I would personally have murdered my characters and buried the whole thing. I printed it out and it sits on a shelf in my office as a reminder of what a great learning experience it was.  The sheer scope, the angst of trying to wring one more scene out of a brain that was also trying to work full time, deal with the coming holidays, and raise two kids.  Hubby was very supportive and totally impressed that I finished. I write with several prompt sites online and though I whine and complain about how tired I am through the school year, I find that when I have time to write in the summer, I seem to be less motivated which is a paradox but there it is.  Now you know more than you ever wanted to know. Feel free to skim and you are quite welcome to visit anytime.  Pull up a comfy chair and have a virtual latte on me.
        I like comments but found I was spending almost more time commenting back and forth on multiple sites than I was writing and so pulled back a little.  The downside is that if you don’t comment, you don’t get comments (well unless you are a famous or at least very compelling writer) and I needed to know that I wanted to write just for the sake of writing – not JUST for the comments though we all love feedback!  I found that I love comments, love commenting, love writing more.
        Thank you for reading – and feel free to join me in an imprompu It’s Friday happy dance!

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Dee.  Whenever we are given an exceptionally hard list of words, I’m amazed at the different routes people take in incorporating them into a story.  I love how you used and defined ‘defenestrate’.  I had never heard of the word till yesterday!

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Jeanette: I believe the CCC writers here are in a better position to write creatively than writers who don’t do these prompts. I look at word lists like this one and say, “How the hell am I going to come up with something for this?” and each time I do, and so do the rest of you. And we do these so well that if we unbolded the words and challenged outsiders to find the 10 words, they wouldn’t be able to. I believe these prompts give us a creative edge.

        • Jeanette R. says:

          @Shane. I totally agree with you. I was telling my hubby this morning how my writing has matured so much in such a short period of time since joining CCC.  I’ve also started observing my surroundings more and story lines just pop into my head that I ‘save’ to explore. Like my story this week, the items that the character unpacks are actual items purchased by someone in front of me at the grocery store.  Pretty cool.

      • Dee Martin says:

        I actually read the word several years ago and it stuck with me – murder by defenestration. I thought the same thing Rowan thought when I first read it lol.  It’s kind of like a tech manual that tells you to ascertain something instead of “find out”.  It is such a great exercise, finding ways to use these words though in real life I think the writing would actually be better if we used the short simple versions.  Oh snap. That’s a great idea. Now I will have to play with it sometime today to see if it would actually be better if I used simpler words.  I had a friend who used to say “I’m a welder – short words” lol

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Dee-this is what you produce when the words are killing you?! Bravo, Dee!

      • Dee says:

        @Cathy – lol thank you!  I was mostly stamping my foot and whining over the word “catheter” – I wanted to toss that one in the trash – it wouldn’t mold itself into the shape I wanted!

  9. Jody S says:

    Closure.
     
    How sick I am of that word. It is the constant litany of those around me, that I should accept your death, and move on. It was an accident. Nothing more could be done to save him. Cherish the memories. He’d want you to be happy. An insipid headology that promises I will be fine without you.
     
    Closure is for the weak. I could defenestrate them all.
     
    The lid of your tomb is gelid weight in my hands. My muscles ache with the burden, a steady burn that threatens to become unbearable. Stone crashes to the floor, and there you are, exposed. How many days has it been? Three? Four? Five? I lost count while I devoured the codex that was the source of your death. No food, no rest, only faded ink symbols on dusty parchment to sustain me. The answer was there, it had to be.
     
    Your flesh is already mottled, your skin shrunken and taut. For a moment I wish the answer was a mere invocation over chicken gizzards, or an even simpler, “Shazam!” But what I must do requires more commitment than words. Holding my breath against the oddly sweet smell of decomposition, I plunge a catheter through skin bereft of the resilience of life. The needle sinks into a mushy vein engorged with clotted blood.What I’m doing makes no sense, but then reason fled me the moment I lost you.
     
    Buried in the last pages of the codex was the recipe that produced the turbid ochre fluid now contained in my syringe. I cannot bear to think of the creatures sacrificed to make it, so I think of you instead. Not as you are before me, but as you were, as you will be again. If I were patient, I would wait for your reincarnation, but I am not. It takes the strength of both hands to push the brown liquid through the lumen of the catheter.
     
    The codex was unclear about how soon the resurrection process begins. In the utter silence I think I hear your breath echo off the damp walls, but’s only my own. No matter. I will stay with you as long as it takes, until we are together again, one way or another.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jody: Holy Bleep that was awesome! Fantastic, fantastic write. I can tell you are a first-class word slinger indeed. Welcome to the CCC. Sure hope you stop by each Monday and Thursday for more prompts. Everyone welcome Jody to the addiction.
      And if you have a website, let me know so I can add that to the CCC Community Links page with your name.

      • Jody S says:

        Thank you! Had a blast writing it. One of those times when the words throw themselves on the page.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Jody-Welcome to CCC!
         
        From the codex of an earlier time to the challenges of today, CCC glorifies the power of words. Defenestrate all previous notions that hold you back and join the community that celebrates life in all its forms.

        With Gizzard-like engineering, each week’s challenge wanders the halls of headology to release the genius from the gelid grasp of despair into a catheter escape to expression. Here your words know the reincarnation that brings stories alive with a welcoming shazam. Like you, words have resilience and burn to have their story told.

        Welcome!

    • Dee says:

      Awesome – I went a somewhat similar direction but I am in awe – you did such a great job of sliding the prompt words in under our noses.  Shivery good and welcome to CCC 🙂

    • Great googa-mooga! Can Halloween be far behind? This is an excellent horror scene. Monkey’s Paw ain’t got nothing on you!
       
      The needle sinks into a mushy vein engorged with clotted blood.
       
      The elicited an involuntary “Eww.” from me. Good writing! I’ve never considered volume in carcass, beyond “bloated”. You nailed that description.
       
      On a different note: you touched on something that I bet many of us are afraid to acknowledge publicly – closure. I want to process that a bit more. On the one hand, there’s grief. On the other, there’s empty platitudes. I’d say we can heal just fine with the former, alone.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Jody S says:

        Thanks!
        Closure is a useful concept, but you’re right, it’s so commonly used these days that it’s often a platitude. Every person’s grief is different, and it won’t always fit a defined schedule or process.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Jody.  This is an incredible scene.  Although it’s a bit gruesome, I am left smiling at the quality of your writing. “I plunge a catheter through skin bereft of the resilience of life.”  What a sentence!  I love when I read something and it makes me feel uncomfortable because that’s when the writer has effectively communicated  their vision. As Shane would say “awesomesauce!’

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jody-This was awesome! You feel the wrenching pain and how we can direct our anger at a single word and all it represents. Great writing.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        I love the idea that closure is an option amongst other options, including bringing your lost one back!  Great concept and story!  Welcome!

  10. Dee says:

    arrrg “gelid and swollen in her heart…

  11. […] creativecopychallenge.com […]

  12. Anne Wayman says:

    First, reading out loud in a loud clear voice:
    Ali Luke, Amy Young, Deborah Swift, Ellie Di Julio, Benjamin Sobieck, Graham Strong, Roz Morris, Shenee Howard, Laura Spencer, Khaver Siddiqi
    Followed by a significant pause, then:
    Burn the codex! Defenestrate it! Headology won’t save you either. You’ll know in your gelid gizzard what’s true – you have a mental catheter to drain the falsehoods. It’s neither reincarnation nor shazam but only your own resilience, truly.
    And finally, my notice came in 24 hours late!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Dr. Blackwell is the director of the Headology department at New Age University. She had to defenestrate a research project on Area 54; however, the university recently received the Oracle of Sumeria codex which touches on metaphysical and psychic subjects such as reincarnation. This was a good break for the university. “Shazam!” said Dr. Anthony Carlisle. He was reviewing a pictorial of sacrifice of a wild turkey; the gizzard and other body parts were pulled out of the turkey. What a brutal way to go? Talk about being gelid in sacrificing an animal – a living being.
    Dr. Carlisle left his work area and walked to Dr. Blackwell’s office. “Knock, knock,” said Carlisle. Dr. Blackwell looked up from her desk. “I’m reviewing the Oracle of Sumeria and it’s intriguing. There seems to be resilience throughout the culture; they warded off evil through spells,” said Carlisle. “What about sage? Did they burn these and other herbs?” asked Dr. Blackwell. “I just began scratching the surface. Sage was definitely used; I’m not sure about other herbs,” said Dr. Carlisle. “I did find a crude looking picture of what would be a modern day catheter,” Dr. Carlisle.

  14. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … I didn’t think about a relationship between the two … good idea!

  15. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … Lol! I enjoy reading about Billy and Bobby’s adventures.

  16. siggiofmaine says:

    Shazam !
    Walking down the street, a codex
    defenestrated thru the air and  past my head and into the street.
    It scared the gizzard out of me !  Reincarnation seemed to be on the docket
    at any moment as the night progressed.
    It was a book on Headology of which I hadn’t heard of before.
    I sat down on the steps to read what I thought might get me to burn in hell,
    or at least burn the book….resilience isn’t one of my strong suits.
    The air was gelid as i read.  I thought for sure I’d need a catheter
    if I wanted to sit and read some more.  The gelid air had the usual effect,
    and all the places with WC’s were closed.

    Shazam !
    Have you ever heard of a codex on Headology?
    Do you think it might work on the teens of today?
    Resilience is their middle name ….
    I can’t  just burn the book…
    it could be reincarnated and come back to haunt me.

  17. Shazam!

    Did I say that out loud? Again?

    Can’t help it – some ideas spring upon you like ravenous tigers.

    Others hit you like a gelid catheter!

    Some stick in your gizzard; you grind on them for weeks before they pass. You finally dismiss them, only to find that reincarnation is real, for them.

    Your brain is trying to tell you something. But you won’t listen.

    And then you do…

    It takes resilience and headology to disregard the resistance. Don’t defenestrate your entire mental codex just because one Peter Principled suit doesn’t get it, get you, or get out of the way.

    Instead, listen to yourself, and believe – then act accordingly.

    The difference between genius and insanity is the direction you take. Insanity burns, genius grows.

    Watered your brain lately?
     
     

  18. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy & Jeanette … Thank you! I’ve added this story to my ‘story ideas’ list … it keeps growing.

  19. Rebecca says:

    @ Dee … That’s a great idea for a plot — an adventure to the land of Ancient Sumeria. I wonder what they’ll find … Stay tuned!

  20. Margaret says:

    My box of codex I’ll defenestrate,
    since I no longer menstruate.
    A mysterious catheter I do not need,
    since my gizzard and bladder work well indeed!

    I thought I got rid of this old junk before,
    but everytime I look, there just seems to be more!!
    We live our lives repeating mistakes…
    but I will get it right, no matter how long it takes!

    Headology convinces me of reincarnation,
    and how many times I have gone through gestation.
    My resiliance lets me bounce back and try it again…
    Do you think next time I’ll find better men?

    I wish I had time and money to burn….
    ‘cuz shazam!!! there still is so much to learn!
    We clean out the clutter in our homes and our brains
    so that our hearts won’t grow gelid and our energy drain!

  21. Dee says:

    gave me a chuckle 🙂

  22. Here is my poem contribution to this game, a little late since I missed this day:
     

    Book of the Damned
    Burn this vile codex
    some twisted shazam headology
    gelid logic draining mental fortitude
    a phantom catheter siphoning intellect
    grinding trust, will and altruism
    under an unholy gizzard of pages
    resilience to destruction profound
    each attempt to defenestrate evil
    ends in unexplainable reincarnation
    this is the book of the damned

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Awesome poem, and we’re definitely lucky to get you late rather than never.  Plus, you beat me to the punch, as I was even later than you were!

  23. Frank Ruiz says:

    The Creative Copy Challenge is our modern codex/
    Absorbing creative prose in dense flows like Kotex

    The window where we defenestrate/
    Throwing out our stories that penetrate/
    Our primitive gizzards looking to elevate

    Toward heights of evolved “headology”/
    The process like the path of technology/
    Exponential improvement for us all to see/
    Opposite from our stagnant economy/
    Gelid invisible hands swarming me/
    Chaotic cacophony

    A reincarnation in the midst of our abused stage/
    Cocoon phase, then “Shazam!,” a true blaze of brand-new days

    The catheter’s removed/
    Our ideas splash on these fools/
    Burning the eyes of those who failed to heed the news

    Rhetorical resilience delivered twice a week/
    On the blog boards as well as with the hoards on the street

  24. Troy Worman says:

    “Headology – the tough-love art of helping people make themselves even more awesome than they already are,” the girl read from the heavy tomedefenestrated from God’s ivory tower.  “How would you like to be even more awesome than you already are, Mr. John?”  She circled the man at the stake.
    “Do you believe in reincarnation?” asked the little girl.  She was much too little to be asking such questions, but then…  “You die, and then, Shazam!  You’re back… in the flash of a thunderclap,” she continued, pausing only briefly to pull a pack of cigarettes from her knee socks.  “Do you fancy yourself a resilient sort, Mr. John?  You really can’t get any more resilient than reincarnation now can you?”  She lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply.  “I mean, reincarnation is the height ofresilience, don’t you think, Mr. John?”  It didn’t sound very much like a question to the elderly gentleman from Oxford.
    And she only waited for a moment for him not to answer.  One, two more pulls from the cigarette then she tossed it on the dry leaves, hay and kindle at his feet.  Only seconds later he felt the first burn of the fire at his feet.
    Gizzard and Gelid hopped around the fire, the former waving the ancientcodex, the latter a catheter.
    His catheter?  The thought was nothing more than that.  Mr. John’s legs were already melting.
     

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Troy: Outstanding stuff. You had me rooting for this not to happen, as if me readying it faster might help this character. Great job.

  25. Pam says:

    ‘How dare you defenestrate the Codex of Shazam?!’ Professor Gizzard bellowed at the hapless student.
    ‘I didn’t mean to, sir…’ the young man stuttered, pulling at the sleeves of his robes nervously.
    ‘Meaning is irrelevant! You did it!’ the headology professor interrupted, his white hair standing out around his face as if it, too, was enraged by the student’s behaviour. ‘Report to the reincarnation laboratory after lesson for your punishment!’

    The reincarnation lab was chilled so that the bodies lying around the room wouldn’t release their souls. The student perched on the edge of a gelid table, fingers nervously playing with the catheter leading to one of the soul catching bottles.
    ‘Don’t touch that!’ a wizard in a white coat snapped as he came into the lab. ‘If you contaminate the catheter it could be your soul in the bottle!’
    The student hastily put down the tube and watched as the wizard opened a large spell book. ‘Now, all I need you to do is to hold the bottle under the subject’s ear and catch the soul as it comes out,’ he told the young man.
    He did as he was told, holding the catheter next to the dead woman’s ear, and the wizard began chanting. As he did, the young man began to feel uncomfortable. His feet were itchy, and his eyeballs felt dry. He tried to shuffle his feet unobtrusively but when he tried to move, a wave of heat flew through him. He opened his mouth to cry out, feeling as if the heat would burn him up from the inside out, but no sound came out.
    He looked at the body on the slab, then, horrified, noticed that the bottle was beginning to collect a soul. It wasn’t coming from the dead woman though, it was coming from his own hand. He struggled to move again, or to make a sound, but it was no use. He felt his resilience drain away as the bottle filled, then the world went dark and he could only think.
    The wizard finished chanting and looked at the bottle, nodding to himself, then frowned as he saw the blank face of the young man.
    ‘I warned him not to contaminate the catheter,’ he muttered, taking the bottle from the unresisting hand and putting a cork in the top before placing it on a shelf in a cupboard alongside dozens of other poor unfortunate souls.

  26. Kelly says:

    [Shane—Mac, fine. PC, hates it. Just #184.]
     

    TO EACH HIS OWN

    “And now, having removed him from the drape, where he clings in a desperate bid for concealment, we commence to defenestrate the offending creature. Shazam!” says the forty-year-old Human Boredom Machine, with a pathetic flourish.

    The HBM is my history prof.

    Back from a week’s adventure in Belize.

    Showing off slides—yes, slides! who knew anyone took slides anymore?—that his equally dull wife took of every. blighted. moment. of their little vaycay.

    Relevance to 3rd-century Chinese history? I’m not getting it.

    Admittedly, the tarantula in this sequence of slides is huge, and irrelevance is sometimes cool, but OMG I could have done without the play-by-play stills from the floor (to two feet further on the floor) to the drape (to the folds of the doggone drape) to the window. Way to kill our interest in an entire Central American country. My brain is burning from utter tedium of it. Insert a catheter into my head and you’ll drain off nothing but suppressed snores.

    As I look around, the rest of the class doesn’t seem to be suppressing them, so I guess I’m doing okay.

    At the shot of the hairy spider crawling away outside their rented room (“Such resilience! My wife couldn’t resist running downstairs to see where he’d go!” my overly excitable prof announces proudly) I lose my last bit of interest. I’d rather read the codex that we’re supposed to be half through by now. (And nobody reads the books for this featherweight class.) So I open the second volume and retreat into my own little headspace, secure in the knowledge that in the 35th row I’ll never be noticed paying zero attention.

    His version of headology, I suppose, is to show us the joy he finds in the most mundane of moments, so we can look for the same. Mine would be to pull the plug on his slide projector, give him an unscripted moment so he can feel a little uncertainty in his gelid gizzard.

    Well, that would have been mine, but instead of musing on ancient reincarnations or professorial improvements, I decided to follow my fellow back-row students off to a nice, midmorning snooze. To each his own…


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